Sunday, 22 January 2012

Referendum Policy List - Health

With the legality of the Referendum boring the pants off many, I thought it better to examine some policies, and see how they measure up. Nothing too technical, rather what your average voter many think.

It's not often I'll give praise to the SNP (or any political party for that matter), but Health is an area where there has been success. Be glad you live in Scotland, because the NHS is gradually being destroyed in England and Wales.

Perhaps "destroyed" is a bit misleading, but the principle of free care to all is certainly being destroyed to the advantage of the private sector.

Healthcare in the UK is still much better than elsewhere in the world. Where else can you turn up at an Accident and Emergency unit and receive treatment? You may have to wait a few hours, but that is better than not being treated.

As a regular attendee at A&E, I can speak from personal experience of the improvements to health in Scotland. I'm not talking about free prescriptions, but the improvement in healthcare, services and hygiene.

Monklands was earmarked for closure by the NHS Lanarkshire Health Board a few years ago. This was despite widespread opposition to people who knew the problems that would arise by closing this unit. Hairmyres and Wishaw were also earmarked as contenders, but with new PFI buildings, that was never an real option. Labour to it's shame did nothing, bar some protests by local councillors - something that I had a very public spat about with Michael McCann.

In short, the NHS has improved in Scotland.

Casting an eye towards England, and what do you see?

Proposals for NHS hospitals to have up to 49% of beds allocated to private patients.

Hospitals that have interest payments that exceed the cost of running their services.

Prescriptions charges that are going up, with a payment for each drug.

The Royal College of Nursing and the Royal College of Midwives are now firmly against the plans proposed by Andrew Lansley, despite initially saying they would be prepared to work with the Government.

There are legitimate concerns from Westminster about the increased cost of drugs and a rapidly ageing population. But the core of the problem lies with the PFI system, yet no one outside Scotland appears willing to tackle this.

Last year Alex Salmond appeared in Question Time in Liverpool and destroyed the other parties over their health policies, to rapturous applause from the audience. There was no partisan talk about independence, but simple facts about the destruction happening.

Nicola Sturgeon has proved to be an able minister with the Health portfolio, an area most keep away from (John "Fuck, not Health" Reid springs to mind). Her opponents should applaud these efforts and work constructively with her, rather than rolling out statistics that are years out of date.

On the Referendum list, Health scores a "Yes".

No comments:

Post a Comment